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Purkinje cell responses during visually and vestibularly driven smooth eye movements in mice.

Katoh A, Shin SL, Kimpo RR, Rinaldi JM, Raymond JL. Brain Behav. 2015 :e00310.

Department of Neurobiology, Stanford University 299 W. Campus Drive, Stanford, California, 94305-5125.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

An essential complement to molecular-genetic approaches for analyzing the function of the oculomotor circuitry in mice is an understanding of sensory and motor signal processing in the circuit. Although there has been extensive analysis of the signals carried by neurons in the oculomotor circuits of species, such as monkeys, rabbits and goldfish, relatively little in vivo physiology has been done in the oculomotor circuitry of mice. We analyzed the contribution of vestibular and nonvestibular signals to the responses of individual  Purkinje cells in the cerebellar flocculus of mice.

METHODS:

We recorded Purkinje cells in the cerebellar flocculus of C57BL/6 mice  during eye  movement  responses  to vestibular and visual stimulation.

RESULTS:

As in other species, most individual Purkinje cells in mice carried both vestibular and nonvestibular signals, and the most common response across cells was an increase in firing in response to ipsiversive eye movement or ipsiversive head movement. When both the head and eyes were moving, the Purkinje cell responses were approximated as a linear summation of head and eye velocity inputs. Unlike other species, floccular Purkinje cells in mice were considerably more sensitive to eye velocity than head velocity.

CONCLUSIONS:

The signal content of Purkinje cells in the cerebellar flocculus of mice was qualitatively similar to that in other species. However, the eye velocity sensitivity was higher than in other species, which may reflect a tuning to the smaller range of eye velocities in mice.

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